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WiE News and Events: Profiles. SEAS students stand with their Concrete Canoe project.

WiE News and Events: Profiles. SEAS students stand with their Concrete Canoe project.


SEAS WiE Profiles: Extraordinary Women

Here are just a few of the extraordinary women at SEAS and affiliated with the SEAS Center for Women in Engineering.



Dr. Poorvi Vora

Dr. Poorvi Vora

Professor of Computer Science, SEAS

Dr. Poorvi Vora and her research group have developed the Athena election audit algorithm and software package, which has been integrated into Arlo, the main election audit software tool used by election officials. The Athena class of ballot polling audits decreases considerably the effort of election officials, and is likely to help make audits more popular among them. No ballot polling audits were performed for the 2020 general election, but pilot (non-binding and post-certification) ballot polling audits for Michigan and Pennsylvania are anticipated in early 2021, when it is hoped that Athena will be used. Dr. Vora’s collaborators are Dr. Filip Zagórski (Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland) and Neal McBurnett (independent software consultant). CS undergraduates Grant McClearn and Sarah Morin participated in all aspects of the work as well, and CS undergraduates Oliver Broadrick, Claire Furtick and Jay Grieve also played a role. The research is/was supported in part by National Science Foundation awards.

Lijie Grace Zhang

Lijie Grace Zhang

Associate Dean for Research, SEAS

Lijie Grace Zhang has been appointed Associate Dean for Research in SEAS. Professor Zhang's Bioengineering Laboratory for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering applies a range of interdisciplinary technologies and approaches in additive manufacturing, nanotechnology, stem cells, tissue engineering, and drug delivery for various biomedical applications.

The main ongoing research projects include: integrating 3D/4D bioprinting and nanotechnology for complex cardiovascular, neural and musculoskeletal tissue regenerations; investigation of the influence of nano and chemical environments in directing stem cell differentiations for regenerative medicine; developing sustained drug formulations for long term and controlled drug release at disease or cancer sites; and developing novel 3D/4D tunable tissue models for cancer metastasis study and therapeutic discovery. 


WiE Profile: Emilia Entcheva standing with another SEAS student and her equipment

Emilia Entcheva

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, SEAS

Dr. Entcheva studies problems related to electrical activity in the heart, and she is developing a technique to expedite researchers’ ability to observe electrical activity across cardiac cells, including activity that can cause arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), which can be lethal. She has taken a unique approach to it, borrowing an opto-genetic technique that is used more commonly in neuroscience.

WiE Profile: Saniya LeBlanc sitting at a desk with microscope and other equipment

Saniya LeBlanc

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, SEAS

Dr. LeBlanc works to develop technologies that address the growing demand for energy, as well as to improve the energy efficiency of technologies that provide our energy services. In one of her current projects, she is working to understand the link between the technical performance of specific energy materials and systems, and the economic requirements for the technologies to make it out of the lab and into the market.

WiE Profile: Erica Gralla standing in front of a white board with mathematical equations

Erica Gralla

Professor of Systems Engineering, SEAS

Dr. Gralla studies decision making problems and develops models to reflect the structures and context of various systems in which decisions are made, and to figure out the right decision making approach based on that system. One system she studies is disaster response supply chains.

WiE Profile: Christyl Johnson standing at a podium giving a speech

Christyl Johnson

Deputy Center Director for Technology and Research Investments, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Dr. Johnson manages the Center’s research and development portfolio and leads an integrated program of investments aligned to meet the Center’s strategic goals. She previously served from 2010 to 2012 as Goddard’s deputy director for science and technology. From 2008 to 2010, she served as executive director of the National Science and Technology Council at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prior to joining the White House staff, Dr. Johnson served as the assistant associate administrator of NASA. There, along with the associate administrator, she provided oversight of the agency's technical mission areas and field center operations. She earned her PhD in systems engineering from GW.

WiE Profile: Serena Aunon-Chancellor floating aboard the ISS

Serena Aunon-Chancellor

NASA Astronaut and MD

Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor is dually certified in internal medicine and aerospace medicine. She began working with NASA as a flight surgeon in 2006, and in 2009, NASA selected her as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class.  From June-December 2018, she served as a flight engineer as part of the Expedition 56/57 crew on the International Space Station. Dr. Aunon-Chancellor earned her BS in electrical engineering from GW.

WiE Profile: Annamaria Konya Tannon giving a presentation

Annamaria Konya Tannon

Chief Evangelist for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Invention, SEAS

In addition to her role as chief evangelist for innovation, entrepreneurship, and invention at SEAS,  Ms. Konya Tannon is also the executive director of the GW Innovation Center. She is a technology entrepreneur and angel investor who has been involved in technology enterprise creation for more than 15 years, primarily in Silicon Valley.  She also is the founder and CEO of Equita Accelerator, a non-profit corporation dedicated to advancing women-led technology companies. Previously, she was a guest lecturer on innovation and entrepreneurship at Stanford University and served as an entrepreneur in residence at Stanford University's Technology Venture Lab.

WiE Profile: Samsara Counts standing and smiling

Samsara Counts

SEAS Undergraduate, Computer Science

Ms. Counts is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics with a minor in Creative Writing. She is a Teaching Assistant for the Computer Science Department and a mentor for incoming freshmen in the SEAS Student Peer Advisory Network (SEASSPAN). She also has served as a 3-time Executive Board member of the GW chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (GW ACM). In Summer 2018, Ms. Counts interned at Microsoft Research New England, working on speeding up matrix multiplication with group theory. She is a 2018 Google Lime Scholar and received two Honorable Mentions for the 2018 and 2019 NCWIT Collegiate Awards for her research. After graduation, she will spend a year doing Artificial Intelligence research in Germany as a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange fellow and then pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

WiE Profile: Caitlin Carfano standing against a wall with colorful hearts painted on it

Caitlin Carfano

SEAS Undergraduate, Electrical Engineering

Ms. Carfano is a junior pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with a concentration in medical preparation. She is a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon and a mentor for incoming freshmen as a member of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Student Peer Advisory Network (SEASSPAN). She also serves as a volunteer at an elementary school STEM club that she co-founded. During the summer of 2018, Ms. Cargano conducted nanoscience research at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and she recently completed a study abroad semester at the University of Sydney, Australia.

WiE Profile: Madison Haley smiling in front of a leafy green bush

Madison Haley

SEAS Undergraduate, Civil Engineering

Ms. Haley is a senior and her primary interest is in engineering and public health. She has been actively involved in Engineers Without Borders (EWB) throughout her four years at SEAS, and last January, she participated in a project assessment trip to India, which she and the EWB co-captain led. Ms. Haley also tutored at School Without Walls, studied abroad in South Korea, and worked as a research assistant in Dr. Samer Hamdar’s Transportation Engineering Laboratory. Last fall, she served as a teaching assistant (TA) in a civil engineering course taught by Dr. Sameh Badie.